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Sugar #11 May '19 (SBK19)

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Sugar #11 Futures Market News and Commentary

Sugar Prices Close Higher on the Prospects for Increased Ethanol Output in Brazil

July NY world sugar #11 (SBN19) on Wednesday closed unchanged and Aug ICE London white sugar #5 (SWQ19) closed up +2.10 (+0.62%). Sugar prices recovered from early losses on the prospects for increased ethanol production in Brazil, which may reduce global sugar supplies. Brazil hydrous ethanol prices last Thursday rose to 1.9846 reals per liter, the highest since the data began in 2000, which may prompt Brazil's sugar mills to divert even more cane crushing toward ethanol production rather than sugar production. Tuesday's data from Conab, Brazil's national crop agency, showed Brazil 2018/19 sugar output in the marketing year ended March 31 fell -17.2% y/y to an 11-year low of 31.4 MMT. Conab also reported that the amount of sugar cane diverted to sugar production in 2018/19 fell to a record low of 36.4% versus 45.9% in 2017/18, and that Brazil's 2018/19 ethanol production rose +23.3% y/y to a record 33.6 bln liters. A rally in crude oil prices Tuesday to a new 5-3/4 month high is another bullish factor for sugar prices. Higher crude oil prices benefit ethanol prices and may prompt Brazil's sugar mills to divert more cane crushing to ethanol production rather than sugar production. Sugar prices had opened lower Wednesday after the Brazilian real fell to a 3-1/2 week low against the dollar, which enocuraged export selling by from Brazil's sugar producers. Huge short-positions in white London sugar futures may spur short-covering in London sugar prices after last Friday's Commitment of Traders (COT) data showed that fund managers boosted their net-short ICE London sugar positions by 1,451 contracts to a record 14,668 contracts in the week ended April 16, the most since the data began in 2011. Another supportive factor for sugar was last Thursday’s projection from the USDA's FAS that Thailand's 2019/20 sugar output, the world's fourth-largest, will fall by -2% y/y to 13.9 MMT.
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